Suspect arrested in Ill., Ind. shootings that killed 1 man, wounded 2 others

Friday, October 8, 2010

Suspect in Ill., Ind. shootings in custody

JOLIET, Ill. — A man suspected of fatally shooting one person and wounding two others in rural parts of Illinois and Indiana was arrested Friday at his home in northeastern Illinois, authorities said.

Will County sheriff’s office spokeswoman Kathy Hoffmeyer said he was being held at an adult detention center in Joliet but declined to provide other details.

No charges have been filed yet.

Investigators have said the man approached his victims with strange questions, asking one man about honeybees and another about construction material, before pulling out a gun.

During a search this week, the suspect was described as heavyset, unkempt and mentally unbalanced. He was thought to be driving a 1990s Chevrolet pickup.

The apparently random shootings began about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at a work site in Illinois and ended about an hour later across the state line on an Indiana farm.

One of the victims, Rolando Alonso, 45, of Hammond, Ind., was shot fatally in the head. He was working for a construction company near Beecher, Ill., when the gunman began a conversation, then started shooting.

Another worker, Joshua Garza, 19, of Dyer, Ind., was wounded. A third worker escaped into a cornfield.

Later on Tuesday morning, a farmer, Keith Dahl, 64, was wounded near Lowell, Ind.

Garza’s great-aunt Peggy Cassoday of Rensselaer, told the Times of Munster that the suspect asked about scrap wood.

“(The shooter) says, ‘What about this wood? What are going to do with it?’ My nephew said, ‘You can take whatever you want.’ So the guy took four or five steps away from him, turned around and when Josh picked up the wheelbarrow to move it, the guy turned around and started shooting,” Cassoday said.

“He was bent over,” Cassoday said. “That was the only thing that saved his life.”

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